Rock Island Town: Fairbury, NE
Fairbury, Nebraska: Western Division
By Michael M. Bartels
The small Nebraska town of Fairbury was the headquarters of the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific Railroad's Western Division, which spanned hundreds of miles from the Missouri River to the Colorado Rockies. From the second floor of the large 1914 depot, dispatchers controlled train movements across this territory. For many Rock Island workers, the road up the corporate ladder included a stint at Fairbury. Including the depot, division and roundhouse operations, the Rock Island at its peak employed about 600 people at Fairbury. The city remained an important point on the Rock Island line until the railroad's demise in 1980. After sitting vacant for several years, the landmark depot serves as a historical museum and is undergoing a full restoration. Softcover, 80 pages.